by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of The Hockey News.
The 2024 NHL Draft will be here before you know it, and Draft 412 will preview some of the prospects who will be probable first round picks. Draft 412 will review the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect, and where they should land in the NHL Draft.
Name- Berkly Catton
Team- Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
HT/WT- 5’11” 164 lbs.
Home – Saskatoon, SASK
Catton was selected first overall in the 2021 WHL Draft by the Spokane Chiefs. A native of Saskatoon, he began being noticed in 2019-2020 with the under-15 Saskatoon Bandits. He put up arcade type numbers, scoring 58 goals and 108 points in only 30 games.
During 2020-2021, Catton took a trip over the border to play at the famed prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Playing for the under-16 squad, the young center scored 23 points in 15 games.
In his first season at Spokane, he was limited to just 9 games and scored 1 goal and had 3 assists. He was the Rookie of the Year for the Chiefs in 2021-2022, scoring 55 points in 63 games. He served as Canada’s captain in the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and helped his team win gold. He led the tournament in scoring with 8 goals and 3 assists. His performance in the tournament was a big slingshot for him into his draft season.
Catton continued feeding off his momentum from the tournament and is having a big season in 2023-2024 for Spokane. In just 35 games, he has set career highs in goals, assists and points with 24-34-58.
Berkly Catton sees the whole ice and makes quick plays at an advanced level. He is a superior skater who uses high-end edge work and an explosive first step. As a playmaker, he is patient with the puck and reads plays well and does a good job of moving the puck through traffic. He has the creativity and ability to move through tight-quarters and is a threat to make a play every shift on the ice. He is a hustler who plays a solid two-way game. He has an effective wrist shot with high end accuracy and knows where to skate to find the soft spots in the offensive end.
Catton definitely needs to add weight and muscle to his frame. A lot of scouts consider him an undersized player and at 5’11” 164 lbs., he will need to get bigger to be able to put up with the punishment of the NHL. His lack of size is evident while playing defense and losing one-on-one battles and keeping his stick free. He needs to be less selfish on 2-on-1’s and shoot a bit more and has a habit of trying to make the perfect play instead of taking what the defense is giving him.
The way Berkly Catton plays reminded Draft Nation of ex-NHL centerman Daniel Briére. Though Catton is 2 inches taller, he has the same skillset that led to Briére scoring 307 goals and 696 points in the NHL. Briére got stronger and bigger after he was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the 1996 draft. Catton will need to add some bulk and show that he has the strength to battle in the corners before entering the NHL.
Berkly Catton is a top-10 draft pick in this draft class and has the offensive creativity and ability that NHL teams look for early on draft day. He has a chance to be a 1st or a 2nd line center with the hockey IQ and leadership skills to captain a team one day.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 1- Top 10